You Must Connect!
The opposite of connected - lonely.
Loneliness is the opposite of being connected.
When we are connected and spend time in solitude, we are alone but not lonely.
When we feel connected we feel that we have a legitimate place in the order of things, we are accepted even though, at times, we might feel unacceptable. It is this sense of belonging that allows us to be alone but not lonely. We still belong even when no-one is there.
When we lack this sense of belonging, when we are not connected we feel empty. With this emptiness come all sorts of negative feelings and self-talk that can make our lives miserable, almost not worth living.
A meta-study* of 148 studies published in 2010 and involving more than three hundred thousand participants concluded “… the influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.”
Loneliness can kill us.
It does so by triggering our red zones. We become hypervigilant and anxious, when alone. We don’t feel safe, there is no-one to care for us and no-one we care for.
It is not a question of poor social skills. In population-based studies, social skills aren’t seen to make any difference, such that teaching social skills has a very modest effect on loneliness.
It is true connection with another human that matters. The connection that comes through Encounter.
Our gift to the young.
* Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review - Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, J. Bradley Layton. Published: July 27, 2010 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.